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CPA solidarity message
To CHT Jumma peoples
Posted: March 31, 2006
Home > Int'l work > CPA solidarity message to CHT Jumma peoples

Five development workers from the Hill Tracts NGO Forum, the biggest umbrella organization of IP NGOs in the Hill Tracts of Bangladesh, are on a study tour in the Cordillera, Philippines, from April 18 to July 12, 2004.Supported by the United Nations Indigenous Peoples Fund, the study tour is jointly coordinated and facilitated by the Tebtebba Foundation, the International Indigenous Peoples Education and Research Center, and the Cordillera Peoples Alliance.

Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) is the homeland of indigenous peoples collectively called Jumma. CHT is located in the southeastern portion of Bangladesh, which had annexed the CHT territory. The Jumma peoples, now numbering 700,000, had fought for self-determination since the British colonial period, throughout Pakistani rule, and up to the time that the CHT was annexed to Bangladesh in 1971.

The CHT Peace Accord of 1997 was signed between the Muslim-dominated government of Bangladesh and Parbattya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samity (PCJSS), the political party of the people of the CHT. The Peace Accord brought optimism that peace will prevail and the recognition of indigenous Jumma rights be achieved. Unfortunately, the non-implementation of the Peace Accord by the Bangladesh Government, coupled with serious human rights abuses by military authorities and lowland Bengali settlers, had eroded this optimism.



Warm greetings!

The Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) salutes the Jumma peoples of Bangladesh in their unwavering struggle for their right to self-determination. As we express our firm unity with you, we also draw inspiration and lessons from your legitimate and just struggles for more than 25 years. We appreciate your undertaking with us in building the Jumma and Igorot peoples’ solidarity for self-determination. We fully acknowledge the contributions and the important role played by our indigenous brothers and sisters of the Chittagong Hill Tracts in the assertion of the rights and welfare of indigenous peoples worldwide.

We also express our gratitude to the Hill Tracts NGO Forum (HTNF) for choosing the Cordillera region of the Philippines for an exposure program. In advance, we extend our congratulations for a successful exposure, and may you have a meaningful visit with us.

There is no doubt the historical and gross violations of your inherent right to self- determination are perpetrated by the Bangladeshi state just as we are oppressed in our own country by no less than the reactionary Philippine government. National oppression – the systematic violation and denial of our right to self-determination as national minorities and indigenous peoples – has been historically carried out by the few ruling elite and their imperialist masters through their state power.

With militarization and state terrorism directly supported by US imperialism, alongside the onslaught of capitalist globalization. the plunder of our lands and resources and the violation of our basic human rights have become more unprecedented. As the socio-economic crisis of the country intensifies by the day, the indigenous peoples of the Cordillera are further marginalized and exploited. The government has passed more laws and policies on mining, forestry, dams, mega-tourism, agricultural liberalization, and privatization of basic social services – all of which further deny us services and livelihood, dignity, and survival as a people.

As we share the same situation and aspiration, there is every reason for us to forge unity and solidarity. Our common aspiration for peace based on justice, equality and prosperity is a noble objective. The issue is not terrorism – as the imperialists and fascists, who are the real terrorists, continue to hype and whip up.

We must wage militant struggles in all fronts for our just cause. Let there be no stone unturned in our struggle against national oppression and imperialist globalization. Indeed, it would be a historic mark for the indigenous peoples’ movement if all indigenous peoples around the globe will unite in this common struggle.

We hope to build a stronger unity and solidarity as we reaffirm our commitment to continue the struggle started by our martyrs and heroes. Let us then draw strength from each other and move forward to strengthen the people’s movement for genuine social transformation.

Long live our Solidarity!
Long live the Jumma peoples!
Long live the Igorot peoples!

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